Right now, I am sitting in a hotel room in Savannah, GA, awaiting United States Marine Corps Family Day in Parris Island, South Carolina. Tomorrow, I will see my son Carlton for the first time since he left for boot camp in October, and he'll be participating in a series of exercises, and then there will be a special family day ceremony. On Friday, he will officially graduate from boot camp, and he'll be going home (to Hampton, Virginia) for approximately 10 days, before he's shipped to Oklahoma, where he will begin his assignment.
I have no problems admitting that I was less than thrilled about his decision to join the military, but I'm over it now. He made it through boot camp, he is well on his way to being a full-fledged Marine. I'm glad he finished what he started, and I'm even happier that he still wants to get his degree via the military. He will definitely need it. That is the good part of this trip...not on to the bad.
I had a choice between staying in Beaufort, SC and Savannah, GA, and I chose the latter just because South Carolina hasn't had the best track record in the Negro department as of late. I know that is quite the sweeping generalization to make but frankly, I don't give a damn. I drove eight hours here from DC, and I don't want any bullshit going down. That being said, Savannah isn't that much better, at least not where I am currently staying. There is a shady looking biker gang revving up their motorcycles outside my window, and I got funny looks in both the grocery and liquor stores. I know how to keep a low profile and I know how to defend myself if need be, but it is a little unsettling being here solo. I will get over it though.
The second uncomfortable part of this trip is the mixing of families. I am here. Carlton's mother (Sara) will be here tomorrow, but she is estranged from the rest of her family. Sara's ex-husband, along with Carlton's half-brother, will also be in attendance, as will Carlton's grandparents and uncles on the other side of the family (not mine). The family day ceremonies end at 10:30 am and by 3pm, he has to return to his Marine duties, and the relatives will be kicked off the base. During those 4 and a half hours, Carlton has to figure out a way to spend time with all of us separately, because if we do it together it will be painfully awkward. I feel badly that he has to make those kinds of decisions during his big day(s), but I am going to make it easier for him, by telling him that we can spend time together Friday, not tomorrow. No need in complicating his life further...besides we'll see each other next weekend.
Ok, I am done complaining, plus I am exhausted...